Fundraising Trends for 2019

Fundraising Trends for 2019

Last week, Analytical Ones completed its survey of fundraising professionals to gain insights on trends for 2019. Overall, the outlook among fundraising professionals is mixed. As many expect a good year as those who are forecasting it will not be a good year. As one respondent stated, a good year may come down to planning: “Modest growth will come to organizations with strategic fundraising programs.”   When asked about the most important trend in fundraising for 2019, it was unsurprising that the stock market’s recent downturn was top of mind. Half of the respondents identified this as the most important trend for the coming year. The two other second-tier trends mentioned in the survey were: Fundraising Channels, and the Tax Law changes. Here are two of the direct quotes from the fundraising professionals who took the survey: “A global recession could cause a significant impact on giving.” “Whether people will begin to bundle donations and not give every year, but change to another giving pattern.”   External forces lead the responses when participants were asked about their biggest concern for the coming year. In short, fundraising professionals have many concerns right now. We all know in times of uncertainty, donors tend to give less. Let’s hope our panel is wrong, but the general consensus is that it may be a bumpy...
Granny’s $5 birthday surprise won’t cut it any longer.

Granny’s $5 birthday surprise won’t cut it any longer.

I’m on the 3rd floor of a Michigan Avenue focus group facility with a group of healthcare donors. I’ve just finished describing the directions of one my go-to exercises. They’re being asked to allocate $100 how they please across the organization. A male baby-boomer, on the younger side of the boom, says something unexpected: “I can’t allocate $100… because I would be embarrassed to give this organization just $100.” What just happened? $100 is a decent gift for a direct mail donor right? $100 used to really mean something in this business! Not anymore. Not like it used to anyway. This particular focus group was 3 years ago. I’ve been following this trend through my other research since. In many settings we’ve validated that younger donors have higher first gift amounts in acquisition. But why? It’s the same reason granny sends $5 bills in birthday cards. Our perception of the value of a dollar is very different by generation. At least, that was my hypothesis. So, I tested this assumption on a survey of 300 donors. I asked, “What is the minimum gift you could make to an organization and actually make a difference?” This is an adaptation of the Van Westendorp’s Price Sensitivity Meter question: “At what price would you consider the product to be priced so low that you would feel the quality couldn’t be very good?” The results supported my hypothesis in a way a researchers only dreams about: Mean Response: Donors under 55: $171 Donors 55-70: $68 Donors 70+ $35 What does this mean? Well, in today’s world it means your low ask-strings in direct...